The Tairon-gs (or great Tais) who are also called Tuning or Sham (i.e. Tuning,
inhabit the west centre of the Sibsagar District of Assam. The circumstances under
which-they became enslaved to the Kachins, and learned to speak the language of their
masters, have been described in the General Introduction to the group. About 150 of
them are said to speak their own language, which, according to the specimen, is nearly
the same as Khamti. The following account of the principal points of difference between
Tairong and Khamti is based on the specimens and List of Words. As explained below,
the specimens were obtained with difficulty, and are not very trustworthy.
Alphabet,—This is the same as Khamti, though a few curious forms appear. We
may note (go for ra (in Aitonia, this is almost the sign for h&)> and as usual a special
form for the vocative particle g[_ transliterated ei. The letter oo is pronounced ya, as
in Khamti, not ja, as in Ihom and Nora. When compounded with another consonant ya
is pronounced e. Thus oojS kyvng^ in L 5, is transliterated k^gt and oo|8
line 20, is transliterated key.
As in Khamti and Nora hit, to do, is always written ^8 *aS &ic&, or even *p ^S
The word for 'with' is written <^P nuy} cor spending to the c^A % of Fora,
The letter 0 wa is over and over again added to another consonant without any
apparent reason. Thus we have the word for * servant' written both o*[ kM (e.g.
L11), and ,0] khwa (1.19). Again inline 19, Mo is written C<g] khwo* For other
examples see the pronouns below. This is probably an idiosyncracy of the writer.
The letter oo is always transliterate^ fa> and never pha. Similarly co fe always
sa, and never sha. Whether these transliterations represent actual pronunciations, I
The use of the vowels in the specimen is very capricious. Thus the word for ' pro-
perty * is spelt khung in 1. 31, and kftdng in L 32. Similarly the word for 'he' is spelt
mant moan, munt and mom as mentioned below. 'The word for' do* is both hich (hit)
and hach (hat}.
Tones.—I regret that I can give no information on this subject.
Houns,—Number,—The plural is formed by suffixing khmt or nouns of multitude
may be prefixed. Thus fmg me-md, bitches, literally a collection of bitches; muk khau?
they, literally a collection of them.
Case,—Sang and tl are both used as prefixes for the Dative. Hang is also used for
the Accusative, as in hang man . . . fu/k-la% bind , . « him. Ka*t% is use4 for the
Ablative, as in Shan. Thus an ka-tl mm, take from him, Iwk is also common, and in
No. 118 of the List of Words we have lai for this case. 0 is sometimes prefixed to luk
(cf. Nos. 104,113,122), as u is prefixed in Aitonia,
The suffix ko appears to be used with the nominative, as in Nos, 212, 214 and 215
of the List. This suffix is regular in Ahom and, Aitonia. When it appears in the speci-
men it seems to have the meaning off also,' as in Khamti.